Swimming (sport)
Overview
 
Swimming is a sport governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA)
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

.
Competitive swimming in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 began around 1800 BCE
CE
CE, Ce or ce may refer to:* Common Era , secular alternative to Anno Domini * Cerium, chemical element with symbol Ce- Titles :* Chief Executive, administrative head of some regions...

, mostly in the form of the freestyle
Freestyle swimming
Freestyle is an unregulated swimming style used in swimming competitions according to the rules of FINA. The front crawl stroke is almost universally used during a freestyle race, as this style is generally the fastest...

. In 1873 Steve Bowyer introduced the trudgen
Trudgen
The trudgen is a swimming stroke sometimes known as the racing stroke, or the East Indian stroke. It is named after the English swimmer John Trudgen ....

 to Western swimming competitions, after copying the front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

 used by Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. Due to a British disregard for splashing, trudgen employed a scissor kick
Sidestroke
The sidestroke is a swimming stroke, so named because the swimmer lies on one side and it is helpful as a lifesaving technique and is often used for long-distance swimming. The sidestroke allows the swimmer increased endurance because, instead of working both arms and legs simultaneously in the...

 instead of the front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

's flutter kick
Flutter kick
The flutter kick is a kicking movement used in both swimming and calisthenics.-Swimming:When swimming either front crawl or backstroke, the legs are extended straight backwards in line with the body. They are moved up and down, one leg kicking downwards as the other leg moves up...

. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic games
1896 Summer Olympics
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was a multi-sport event celebrated in Athens, Greece, from April 6 to April 15, 1896. It was the first international Olympic Games held in the Modern era...

 in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 in 1896. In 1902, Richard Cavill introduced the front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

 to the Western world.
Encyclopedia
Swimming is a sport governed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA)
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

.

History

Competitive swimming in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 began around 1800 BCE
CE
CE, Ce or ce may refer to:* Common Era , secular alternative to Anno Domini * Cerium, chemical element with symbol Ce- Titles :* Chief Executive, administrative head of some regions...

, mostly in the form of the freestyle
Freestyle swimming
Freestyle is an unregulated swimming style used in swimming competitions according to the rules of FINA. The front crawl stroke is almost universally used during a freestyle race, as this style is generally the fastest...

. In 1873 Steve Bowyer introduced the trudgen
Trudgen
The trudgen is a swimming stroke sometimes known as the racing stroke, or the East Indian stroke. It is named after the English swimmer John Trudgen ....

 to Western swimming competitions, after copying the front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

 used by Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. Due to a British disregard for splashing, trudgen employed a scissor kick
Sidestroke
The sidestroke is a swimming stroke, so named because the swimmer lies on one side and it is helpful as a lifesaving technique and is often used for long-distance swimming. The sidestroke allows the swimmer increased endurance because, instead of working both arms and legs simultaneously in the...

 instead of the front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

's flutter kick
Flutter kick
The flutter kick is a kicking movement used in both swimming and calisthenics.-Swimming:When swimming either front crawl or backstroke, the legs are extended straight backwards in line with the body. They are moved up and down, one leg kicking downwards as the other leg moves up...

. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic games
1896 Summer Olympics
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was a multi-sport event celebrated in Athens, Greece, from April 6 to April 15, 1896. It was the first international Olympic Games held in the Modern era...

 in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 in 1896. In 1902, Richard Cavill introduced the front crawl
Front crawl
The front crawl, forward crawl, or freestyle is a swimming stroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is nearly universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, hence the synonymously used term "freestyle". It is one of two...

 to the Western world. In 1908, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA)
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

, which is the current governing body of the swimming world, was formed. The butterfly stroke
Butterfly stroke
The butterfly is a swimming stroke swum on the breast, with both arms moving simultaneously. The butterfly kick was developed separately, and is also known as the "dolphin kick"...

 was developed in the 1930s and was at first a breaststroke variant, until it was accepted as a separate style in 1952. In 1964, Lillian Bonnell became the first woman to participate in a swimming competition, and because of her, millions
Millions
Millions is a 2004 British comedy-drama film, directed by Academy Award–winning director Danny Boyle, and starring Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, and James Nesbitt. The screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce adapted his novel while the film was in the process of being made...

 of women now participate in the sport every year.

Correction ~
In 1912 Fanny Durack (of Australia) became the first female to win an Olympic gold medal, for the 100-yard freestyle.

Physics of Swimming

The basic principle of swimming is buoyancy. The human body has a high water content and its density is close to the density of water. Due to its cavities (most prominently the lungs), the average density of the human body is lower than that of water, so it naturally floats. Terry Laughlin has summarized the relevant physical principles for effective and efficient swimming in his book "Total Immersion" in 1996.


There are two ways to swim faster:
  • increase power
  • reduce water resistance

Because the power needed to overcome resistance increases with the third power of the velocity the first option is not really effective. To increase velocity by 10% you'd need to increase the power by more than 30%.

Laughlin gives three physical principles to reduce drag in swimming:

Balance: how to have a horizontal water position

Due to the lungs the center of buoyancy and the center of gravity of the human body are not the same. Therefore the lower body has a tendency to sink. If the body is not horizontal but even slightly inclined the area it offers to drag is much higher leading to higher resistance. An easy way to stay horizontal is to lean forward and position your head straight in the extension of the spine. In this position the eyes are directed straight downward and the head is more immersed (therefore total immersion).

At the water surface, resistance is proportional to the breadth of a boat. Laying flat on the chest in freestyle or on the back in backstroke exposes the breadth of the body to the water. Rolling on the side reduces the breadth and the resistance. In freestyle and backstroke you should roll from one side to the other in the stroke and glide on the side as much as possible.
When taking a breath you should take them as little as possible, for beginners it is good to breath every three strokes and the more trained you are the more strokes in between each breath.

Extended arm

Sailboats are categorized according to boat length. This is due to the wave resistance at the surface. According to Froude, a naval architect in the 19th century, a body moving at the surface of the water creates a wave. The length of the wave depends on the speed. The faster the boat the longer the wave. Now Froude found that resistance goes up dramatically when the wave length reaches the length of the boat. There is a simple formula connecting wave velocity to wave length (dispersion equation
Dispersion relation
In physics and electrical engineering, dispersion most often refers to frequency-dependent effects in wave propagation. Note, however, that there are several other uses of the word "dispersion" in the physical sciences....

, metric):


Here c is the velocity of the wave in m/s, g is the gravitational acceleration (9.81 m/s2), and l is the wave length in m. If the maximum swimming speed of c=2.1 m/s is entered you get a length of l=2.82 m. This is about the length of a 2 m swimmer with extended arms. So the longer you can glide with the extended arm the less wave resistance. This is also called front quadrant swimming.

Competition

Competitive swimming became popular in the nineteenth century. The goal of competitive swimming is to constantly improve upon one's time(s), or to beat the competitors in any given event. However, some professional swimmers who do not hold a national or world ranking are considered the best in regard to their technical skills. Typically, an athlete goes through a cycle of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle, and then the workload is decreased in the final stage as the swimmer approaches the competition in which he or she is to compete in. This final stage is often referred to as "shave and taper"; the swimmer has tapered down his or her workload to be able to perform at their optimal level. At the very end of this stage, before competition, the swimmer shaves off all exposed hair for the sake of reducing drag and having a sleeker and more hydrodynamic feel in the water.

Swimming is an event at the Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...

, where male and female athletes compete in 16 of the recognized events
Swimming at the Summer Olympics
Swimming has been a sport at every modern Summer Olympics. It has been open to women since 1912. Along with track & field athletics and gymnastics it is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games and the one with the largest number of events....

 each. Olympic events are held in a 50 meter pool, called a long course pool.

There are 40 officially recognized individual swimming events in the pool, however the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 only recognizes 32 of them. The international governing body for competitive swimming is the Fédération Internationale de Natation ("International Swimming Federation") better known as FINA
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

.

Open-water

In open water swimming
Open water swimming
Open water swimming takes place in outdoor bodies of water such as open oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, canals, and reservoirs.The beginning of the modern age of open water swimming is sometimes taken to be May 3, 1810, when Lord Byron swam several miles to cross the Hellespont from Europe to Asia.In...

, where the events are swam in a body of open water (lake or sea), there are also 5 km, 10 km and 25 km events for men and women. However only the 10 km event is included in the Olympic schedule, again for both men and women. Open-water competitions are typically separate to other swimming competitions with the exception of the World Championships and the Olympics.

Swim styles

In competitive swimming, four major styles have been established. These have been relatively stable over the last 30–40 years with minor improvements. The 4 main strokes in swimming are:
  • Freestyle
    Freestyle swimming
    Freestyle is an unregulated swimming style used in swimming competitions according to the rules of FINA. The front crawl stroke is almost universally used during a freestyle race, as this style is generally the fastest...

  • Breaststroke
    Breaststroke
    The breaststroke is a swimming style in which the swimmer is on his or her chest and the torso does not rotate. It is the most popular recreational style due to its stability and the ability to keep the head out of the water a large portion of the time. In most swimming classes, beginners learn...

  • Backstroke
    Backstroke
    The backstroke, also sometimes called the back crawl, is one of the four swimming styles regulated by FINA, and the only regulated style swum on the back. This has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of swimmers not being able to see where they are going. It is also the only...

  • Butterfly
    Butterfly stroke
    The butterfly is a swimming stroke swum on the breast, with both arms moving simultaneously. The butterfly kick was developed separately, and is also known as the "dolphin kick"...


The Dolphin Kick

In the past two decades, the most drastic change in swimming has been the addition of underwater dolphin kicks. This is used to maximize the speed at the start and after the turns. The first successful use of it was by David Berkoff
David Berkoff
David Charles Berkoff is a former backstroke swimmer from the United States, who won a total number of four Olympic medals during his career. He is best known for his powerful underwater start, the eponymous "Berkoff Blastoff"...

 at the 1988 Olympics, where he swam most of the 100 m backstroke race underwater and broke the world record on the distance during the preliminaries. Another famous swimmer to use the technique was Denis Pankratov
Denis Pankratov
Denis Pankratov is a retired Russian butterfly swimmer of the 1990s, who was best known for winning the butterfly double at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, USA in a unique style. His 100 m butterfly triumph is particularly remembered for his swimming over 25 m of the first lap...

 at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he completed almost half of the 100 m butterfly underwater to win the gold medal. In the past few years, American competitive swimmers have shown the most use of the underwater dolphin kick to gain advantage, most notably Olympic and World medal winners Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps
Michael Fred Phelps is an American swimmer who has, overall, won 16 Olympic medals—six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008, becoming the most successful athlete at both of these Olympic Games editions...

 and Ryan Lochte
Ryan Lochte
Ryan Steven Lochte is an American swimmer and a six-time Olympic medalist . As part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay...

.

While the dolphin kick is mostly seen in middle distance freestyle events and in all distances of backstroke and butterfly, it is not usually used to the same effect in freestyle sprinting. That changed with the addition of the so called Sharkskin suits until the European Short Course Championships in Rijeka, Croatia in December 2008. There, Amaury Leveaux
Amaury Leveaux
Amaury Leveaux is a French swimmer from Belfort. Leveaux is the current world record holder in the 100 m freestyle ) He also holds the 200 m freestyle national record and the European record in the 50 m freestyle...

 set new world records of 44.94 seconds in the 100 m freestyle, 20.48 seconds in the 50 m freestyle and 22.18 in the 50 m butterfly. Unlike the rest of the competitors in these events he spent at least half of each race underwater using the dolphin kick.

While underwater dolphin kicking is allowed in freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, it's use is not permitted in the same way in the breaststroke. In 2005, a new rule was formed stating that an optional downward dolphin kick may be used off the start and each turn, and it must occur during the breaststroke pullout. Any other dolphin kick will result in disqualification.

New rules were established to curtail excessive use of underwater dolphin kicks in freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. Currently, performing the dolphin kick past 15 meters results in a disqualification.

Competition pools

Most swimming sport events are held in special competition swimming pools, which are either long course pools such as those used in the Olympic Games (50 m) or short course
Short course
In Swimming, the term Short Course is used to identify a pool that is 25 metres in length. The term is also often included in meet names when conducted in a short course pool...

 pools such as those used in the FINA World Swimming Championships  (25 yard
Yard
A yard is a unit of length in several different systems including English units, Imperial units and United States customary units. It is equal to 3 feet or 36 inches...

s or 25 m). Competition pools have starting blocks from which the competitor can dive in, and possibly also touch-sensitive pads to electronically record the swimming time of each competitor.

Seasons

Club swimming in the US has two major seasons. During the short-course season, swimmers swim in 25 yard pools. This season lasts from September to the end of March. The long-course season is swum in 50 meter Olympic pools and lasts from April to the end of August.

The longer freestyle events are actually different lengths in each season. In the short course season, the 500 yard, 1000 yard, and 1650 yard freestyle events are swum, while during the long course season the 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500 meter freestyle events are swum instead. However, this difference in distance holds true for all meter pools i.e. short course meter pools also swim the 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500 meter freestyle events instead of their yard counterparts.

Officials

There are several types of officials, which are needed to manage the Competition.

Referee: The referee has full control and authority over all officials. The referee will enforce all rules and decisions of FINA and shall decide all questions relating to the actual conduct of the meet, and event or the competition, the final settlement of which is not otherwise covered by the rules. The referee takes overall responsibility for running the race and makes the final decisions as to who wins the competition. Referees call swimmers to the blocks with short blasts of his or her whistle. This is the signal for the swimmers to stand next to their blocks. Starters call missing swimmers if nessesary. Then the referee will blow a long whistle that will tell the swimmers to step on a block.The referee will then hand over control to the starter.

Starter: The starter has full control of the swimmers from the time the referee turns the swimmers over to him/her until the race commences. A starter sends the swimmers off the blocks and may call a false start if a swimmer leaves the block before the starter sends them.

Clerk of Course: The clerk of course assembles swimmers prior to each event.They decide where to put the swimmers by time. They always put the people who have not swum the event before in heat 1. Ex:if you swim a 50yd breastroke in 39 seconds, you would probably be put in the second to last heat, however, if you swum the 50yd breasktoke in a minute, you would probably get put in heat 2.

Timekeepers: There are three (3) timekeepers for each lane. Each timekeeper takes the time of the swimmers in the lane assigned to him/her. Unless a video backup system is used, it may be necessary to use the full complement of timekeepers even when Automatic Officiating Equipment is used. A chief timekeeper assigns the seating positions for all timekeepers and the lanes for which they are responsible. The chief timekeeper collects from the timekeepers in each lane a card showing the times recorded and, if necessary, inspect their watches. One timer will be timing with a stopwatch, another recording it down, and one making sure everything is valid.

Inspectors of Turns: One inspector of turns is assigned to each lane at each end of the pool. Each inspector of turns ensures that swimmers comply with the relevant rules for turning as well as the relevant rules for start and finish of the race. Inspectors of turns shall report any violation on disqualification reports detailing the event, lane number, and the infringement delivered to the chief inspector of turns who will immediately convey the report to the referee.

Judges of Stroke: Judges of stroke are located on each side of the pool. They ensure that the rules related to the style of swimming designated for the event are being observed, and observe the turns and the finishes to assist the inspectors of turns.

Finish Judges
Finish Judges determine the order of finish and make sure the swimmers finish in accordance with the rules (two hands simultaneously for breaststroke and butterfly, on the back for backstroke, etc.)

If an official
Official
An official is someone who holds an office in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority .A government official or functionary is an official who is involved in public...

 catches a swimmer breaking a rule concerning the stroke he or she is swimming, that swimmer is said to be disqualified (commonly referred to as a "DQ") and the swim is not considered valid. The referee can disqualify any swimmer for any violation of the rules that he personally observes. The referee may also disqualify any swimmer for any violation reported to him by other authorised officials. All disqualifications are subject to the decision of the referee.

Meet Setup

A meet consists of a number of events classified by age, gender, distance, and stroke. For example, Event 1: Girls 13-14 100yd fly. Each event has a certain amount of heats. A heat is a group of people who swim at the same time, one person per lane, yet compete against all entries in that event. Most meets do one stroke at one time. A heat sheet tells a swimmer what they will swim and in what heat and lane. A psych sheet tells the entry position of the swimmer before the start of the meet. Larger meets, which are not national or international competitions, typically cover a three day period, usually Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fridays are typically the longer events: 400 m/500 y free, 800 m/1000 y free, 1500 m/1650 y free, and the 400 IM. Saturdays consist half of the events and, most likely, free relays. Sundays consist of the remainder of the events and the other relays. In typical meets, swimmers are placed after swimming once in their heat, timed finals. In championship meets (international, national, state, regionals, district, and collegiate) and some other meets, the swimmers compete in preliminaries, sometimes semi-finals, and are placed after finals. Sometimes swimmers can enter time trials at a meet, to obtain new official times, but the results of time trials are not included in the official placing of the particular event at the meet.

Swimwear

Swimsuit
Swimsuit
A swimsuit, bathing suit, or swimming costume is an item of clothing designed to be worn by men, women or children while they are engaging in a water-based activity or water sports, such as swimming, water polo, diving, surfing, water skiing, or during activities in the sun, such as sun bathing.A...

: The suit covers the skin for modesty. Competitive swimwear seeks to improve upon bare human skin for a speed advantage. For extra speed a swimmer wears a body suit, which has rubber or plastic bumps that break up the water close to the body and provides a small amount of thrust—just barely enough to help a swimmer swim faster. However, competitive swimming limits the type of suit a swimmer can wear.
Swim cap
Swim cap
A swim cap, swimming cap or bathing cap, is a silicone, latex or lycra cap worn on the head by recreational and competitive swimmers....

: A swim cap (a.k.a. cap) keeps the swimmer's hair out of the way to reduce drag. Caps may be made of latex, silicone or Lycra(TM).
Goggles
Goggles
Goggles or safety glasses are forms of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the area surrounding the eye in order to prevent particulates, water or chemicals from striking the eyes. They are used in chemistry laboratories and in woodworking. They are often used in snow sports as well,...

: Goggles keep water and chlorine
Chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

 out of swimmers' eyes. Goggles may be tinted to counteract glare at outdoor pools. Prescription goggles may be used by swimmers who wear corrective lenses.
Swim-fins: Rubber fins are used to help kick faster. Some fins, like the Aqua Sphere Alpha Fins help increase muscle mass. They also improve technique by keeping your feet in the proper position while kicking.
Paddles: Swimmers use these plastic devices to build arm and shoulder strength and refine pulling technique. Hand paddles
Hand paddle
A hand paddle, according to "Swim Speak", is a "coloured plastic device that is worn on the swimmer's hands during swim practices to enhance muscle build-up or speed." Paddles are often used with pull buoys to build up arm strength...

 attach to the hand with rubber surgical tubing or another type of elastic material. They come in many different shapes and sizes.
Kick Board: A kick board is a foam flotation device that swimmers use to support the weight of the upper body while they focus on kicking.
Pull Buoy
Pull buoy
A pull buoy or leg float is a figure-eight shaped piece of closed-cell foam used in swim workouts. Swimmers place the buoy between the legs in the crotch area to provide support to the body without kicking the legs; this allows the swimmer to focus on training only their arms.Pull Buoys are an...

: Generally used at the same time as hand paddles, pull buoys
Pull buoy
A pull buoy or leg float is a figure-eight shaped piece of closed-cell foam used in swim workouts. Swimmers place the buoy between the legs in the crotch area to provide support to the body without kicking the legs; this allows the swimmer to focus on training only their arms.Pull Buoys are an...

 support swimmers' legs (and keep them from kicking) while they focus on pulling. Pull buoys are made of foam so they float in the water. Swimmers hold them in between the thighs.
Snorkel: A standard snorkel looks like a capital letter J. Swimmers use them to breathe while their mouths and noses are underwater, so that they can focus on keeping their heads in proper position while swimming. Snorkels are generally made out of a combination of plastic and rubber.

Men

Men's most used practice swimwear include briefs and jammers. Males generally swim barechested
Barechested
Barechested most commonly refers to a male wearing no clothes above the waist, exposing much or all of the torso. It is also known as "stripped to the waist" or "being shirtless"...

.

There has been much controversy after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, when many Olympic swimmers broke records an unprecedented number of times using revolutionary swimsuits. To highlight the issue, note that it is rare to break world records, but in 2008, 70 world records were broken in one year, and 66 Olympic records were broken in one Olympic Games (there were races in Beijing where the first 5 finishers were swimming faster than the old world record). Despite many of his records having been won in these suits, Michael Phelps stated that he might boycott the competition after his record was beaten by another swimmer with a more advanced suit.

As of New Year's Day 2010, men are only allowed to wear suits from the waist to above the knees. They are also only permitted to wear one piece of swimwear; they cannot wear speedos underneath jammers. This law was enacted after the controversy in the Beijing Olympics and Rome World Championships.

Women

Women wear one piece suits with different backs for competition, though there are two-piece suits that can be worn to compete as well. Backs vary mainly in strap thickness and geometric design. Most common styles include: racerback, axel back, corset, diamondback, and butterfly-back. There are also different style lengths: three quarter length (reaches the knees), regular length (shoulders to hips), and bikini style (2 piece). Also as of New Year's 2010, in competition, women are only allowed to wear suits that do not go past the knees or shoulders.

Drag suits

Drag suits are used for increasing the resistance against the swimmer in order to help adjust the swimmer to drag. This way when swimmers switch back to normal practice suits they swim faster as a result of feeling less resistance. They are not normally worn during competitions.

Drag shorts

Drag shorts like drag suits are worn in training and are also used to increase drag so that when taken off in racing it feels easier and the wearer feels less resistance. Other forms of drag wear include nylons, old suits, and t-shirts; the point is to increase friction in the water to build strength during training, and increase speed once drag items are removed for competition. Swimmers shave areas of exposed skin before end-of-season competitions, to reduce friction in the water. Drag wear is not normally worn during competitions.

Open water swimming

Open water swimming is swimming outside of a regular pool, usually in a lake, or sometimes ocean. Popularity of the sport has grown in recent years, partly due to bestselling "wild swimming" books by Kate Rew
Kate Rew
Kate Rew is a journalist and author who founded the Outdoor Swimming Society. Her bestselling book, "Wild Swim", helped further the recent growth in popularity of wild swimming.-Early life:...

 and Daniel Start.

New recent technology has developed much faster swimsuits. Full body suits have been banned, but swimmers at the very top levels still wear suits that have been lasered together because stitching creates drag. The downfall of these suits: they are sometimes uncomfortable and tight.

Changes to the sport

Swimming times have dropped over the years due to better training techniques and to new developments.

The first four Olympics competitions were not held in pools, but in open water (1896– The Mediterranean, 1900– The Seine River, 1904– an artificial lake, 1906– The Mediterranean). The 1904 Olympics' freestyle race was the only one ever measured at 100 yards, instead of the usual 100 meters. A 100 meter pool was built for the 1908 Olympics and sat in the center of the main stadium's track and field oval. The 1912 Olympics, held in the Stockholm harbor, marked the beginning of electronic timing
Aquatic timing system
Aquatic timing systems are designed to automate the process of timing, judging, and scoring in competitive swimming and other aquatic sports, including diving, water polo, and synchronised swimming...

.

Male swimmers wore full body suits until the 1940s, which caused more drag in the water than their modern swimwear counterparts did. Competition suits now include engineered fabric and designs to reduce swimmers' drag in the water and prevent athlete fatigue. In addition, over the years, pool designs have lessened the drag. Some design considerations allow for the reduction of swimming resistance
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

, making the pool faster. Namely, proper pool depth, elimination of currents, increased lane width, energy absorbing racing lane lines and gutters, and the use of other innovative hydraulic, acoustic, and illumination designs.

The 1924 Summer Olympics
1924 Summer Olympics
The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France...

 were the first to use the standard 50 meter pool with marked lanes. In the freestyle, swimmers originally dove from the pool walls, but diving blocks were incorporated at the 1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics
The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona...

. The flip turn
Tumble turn
A tumble turn, or flip turn is a technique of turns in swimming, used to reverse the direction in which the person is swimming. It is usually done when the swimmer reaches the end of the swimming pool but still has one or more lengths to swim....

 was developed by the 1950s and goggles
Goggles
Goggles or safety glasses are forms of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the area surrounding the eye in order to prevent particulates, water or chemicals from striking the eyes. They are used in chemistry laboratories and in woodworking. They are often used in snow sports as well,...

 were first used in the 1976 Olympics
1976 Summer Olympics
The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event celebrated in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1976. Montreal was awarded the rights to the 1976 Games on May 12, 1970, at the 69th IOC Session in Amsterdam, over the bids of Moscow and...

.

There were also changes in the late 20th century in terms of technique. Breaststrokers are now allowed to dip their head completely under water, which allowed for a longer stroke and faster time. However, the breaststrokers must bring their heads up at the completion of each cycle. In addition, a split stroke in the breaststroke start and turns has been added to help speed up the stroke. There have been some other changes added recently as well. Now off the start and turns, breaststrokers are allowed 1 butterfly kick to help increase their speed. Backstrokers are now allowed to turn on their stomachs before the wall in order to perform a "flip-turn". Previously, they had to reach and flip backwards and a variation of it, known as a "bucket turn" or a "Suicide turn" is sometimes used in Individual Medley events to transition from backstroke to breaststroke.

Records in swimming

The foundation of FINA
Fina
Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

 in 1908 signalled the commencement of recording the first official world records in swimming. At that time records could be established in any swimming pool of length not less than 25 yards, and records were also accepted for intermediate distance split times from longer distance events. Today World Records will only be accepted when times are reported by Automatic Officiating Equipment, or Semi-Automatic Officiating Equipment in the case of Automatic Officiating Equipment system malfunction.

Records in events such as 300 yd, 300 m, 1000 yd, and 1000 m freestyle, 400 m backstroke, and 400 m and 500 m breaststroke were no longer ratified from 1948. A further removal of the 500 yd and 500 m freestyle, 150 m backstroke, and 3×100 m medley relay from the record listings occurred in 1952.

In 1952 the national federations of the United States and Japan proposed at the FINA Congress the separation of records achieved in long course and short course pools, however it was four more years for action to come into effect with Congress deciding to retain only records held in 50 m pools as the official world record listings.

By 1969 there were thirty-one events in which FINA recognised official world records – 16 for men, 15 for women – closely resembling the event schedule that was in use at the Olympic Games
Swimming at the Summer Olympics
Swimming has been a sport at every modern Summer Olympics. It has been open to women since 1912. Along with track & field athletics and gymnastics it is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games and the one with the largest number of events....

.

The increase in accuracy and reliability of electronic timing equipment led to the introduction of hundredths of a second to the time records from 21 August 1972.

Records in short course (25 m) pools began to be officially approved as "short course world records" from 3 March 1991. Prior to this date times in short course (25 m) pools were not officially recognised, but were regarded a "world best time" (WBT). From 31 October 1994 times in 50 m backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly were added to the official record listings.

FINA currently recognises world records in the following events for both men and women.
  • Freestyle: 50 m
    World record progression 50 metres freestyle
    The first world record in the men's 50 metres freestyle in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1976...

    , 100 m
    World record progression 100 metres freestyle
    The first world record in the men's 100 metres freestyle in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1905...

    , 200 m
    World record progression 200 metres freestyle
    This is a history of the World Record in the 200 Freestyle swimming event. Swimming World Records are recognized by FINA in either long-course or short-course pool courses....

    , 400 m
    World record progression 400 metres freestyle
    The first world record in the men's 400 metres freestyle in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1908. In the short course swimming events the world's governing body recognizes world records since 3 March 1991.-Long course:-Short course:-Long...

    , 800 m
    World record progression 800 metres freestyle
    The first world record in the men's 800 metres freestyle in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1908...

    , 1500 m
    World record progression 1500 metres freestyle
    The first world record in the men's 1500 metres freestyle in a long course swimming pool was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1908...


( The nick name for freestyle is Free.)
  • Backstroke: 50 m
    World record progression 50 metres backstroke
    -Long course:-Short course:-Long course:-Short course:-References:...

    , 100 m
    World record progression 100 metres backstroke
    This is a history of the 100 m backstroke world record as swum in both long-course pools and short-course pools—the two categories recognized/tracked by FINA.-Long course:-Short course:-Long course:-Short course:...

    , 200 m
    World record progression 200 metres backstroke
    This is a history of the 200 m backstroke world record as swum in both long course pools and short course pools – the two categories recognized/tracked by FINA.-Long course:-Short course:-Long course:...


(when training as a young child, competitive swimmer has nick names for each stroke used by the coaches as well. For backstroke it is just simply Back)
  • Breaststroke: 50 m
    World record progression 50 metres breaststroke
    -Long course:-Short course:-Long course:-Short course:- References :...

    , 100 m
    World record progression 100 metres breaststroke
    This is a list of the world record progression in the 100 metres breaststroke. The first world record in long course swimming was recognized by the International Swimming Federation in 1961, while the women's world record times were officially acknowledged in 1958...

    , 200 m
    World record progression 200 metres breaststroke
    The first world record in the men's 200 metres breaststroke in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1908 and the first world record in the women's 200 metres breaststroke was recognised in 1921...


( nick name for Breaststroke is just simply Breast)
  • Butterfly: 50 m, 100 m
    World record progression 100 metres butterfly
    The first world record in the 100 metres butterfly in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1957, for both men and women...

    , 200 m
    World record progression 200 metres butterfly
    The first world record in the men's 200 metres butterfly in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1959. The women's official acknowledged top time came one year earlier...


( Nick name for Butterfly is Fly)
  • Individual medley: 100 m
    World record progression 100 metres medley
    The world records in the 100 metres individual medley. This event can only be competed in short course pools.-Men:-Women:-References:...

     (short course only), 200 m
    World record progression 200 metres medley
    The first world record in the 200 metres individual medley in long course swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1956, followed by the women a year later...

    , 400 m
    World record progression 400 metres medley
    The first world record in the 400 metres individual medley in long course swimming was recognized by the International Swimming Federation in 1957, followed by the women a year later...


( This individual medley also has a nick name, or in this case an abbreviation. It is called an IM.)
  • Relays: 4×100 m freestyle
    World record progression 4x100 metres freestyle relay
    Below is the world record progression for the 4×100 metres freestyle relay swimming event. Long course swimming records were recognised by the International Swimming Federation in 1908...

    , 4×200 m freestyle
    World record progression 4x200 metres freestyle relay
    This is a history of the World Record in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay swimming event. World Records are recognized by FINA in either long-course or short-course pool courses....

    , 4×100 m medley
    World record progression 4x100 metres medley relay
    The world record in the 4×100 metres medley swimming relay was first recognised in 1953 by FINA, with world swimming governing body. Initially world records were only recognised in long course swimming pools which were a minimum of 50 metres in length – some of the early records were achieved...


Health and skin care

It's recommended that swimmers wear water proof sunscreen
Sunscreen
Sunblock is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn...

 to meets and daytime swim practices that are outside to prevent sunburn
Sunburn
A sunburn is a burn to living tissue, such as skin, which is produced by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, commonly from the sun's rays. Usual mild symptoms in humans and other animals include red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue, and mild dizziness. An excess of UV...

s. It's also recommended that swimmers dry off well between events at meets and change into dry clothes as soon as possible after swimming to prevent rashes and skin infections.

It also is important for pool water to be properly maintained to avoid rashes and skin infections.

Swimmers should shower
Shower
A shower is an area in which one bathes underneath a spray of water.- History :...

 with mild soap after swimming to remove pool chemicals such as chlorine and salt. Swimmers should use goggles to protect the eyes from pool water and improve underwater vision.

See also

  • Aquatic timing system
    Aquatic timing system
    Aquatic timing systems are designed to automate the process of timing, judging, and scoring in competitive swimming and other aquatic sports, including diving, water polo, and synchronised swimming...

  • FINA
    Fina
    Fina may refer to:*Fina, a character in the Skies of Arcadia video game*FINA, the International Swimming Federation*FINA, the North American Forum on Integration...

  • FINA World Aquatics Championships
  • List of swimming styles
  • List of world records in swimming
  • Paralympic swimming
    Paralympic swimming
    Paralympic swimming is an adaptation of the sport of swimming for athletes with disabilities. Paralympic swimming is contested not only at the Summer Paralympic Games, but at disabled sports competitions throughout the world...

  • Sports nutrition
    Sports nutrition
    Sports nutrition is the study and practice of nutrition and diet as it relates to athletic performance. It is concerned with the type and quantity of fluid and food taken by an athlete, and deals with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, supplements and organic substances such as carbohydrates,...

  • Swimming at the Summer Olympics
    Swimming at the Summer Olympics
    Swimming has been a sport at every modern Summer Olympics. It has been open to women since 1912. Along with track & field athletics and gymnastics it is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Games and the one with the largest number of events....

  • Swimwear and hygiene
  • United States Masters Swimming
    United States Masters Swimming
    Masters swimming is an organized program of swimming for adults. U.S. Masters Swimming, founded in 1970, is a non-profit membership national governing body. The program began when the first National Masters Swimming Championships were held on May 2, 1970 at the Amarillo Aquatic Club pool. Captain...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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